How big of a reference plate do I need to flatten a No. 7 sole?

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Forum topic by Rosenritter posted 10-02-2016 04:58 PM 1211 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1618 days

10-02-2016 04:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane no 5 no 7 stanley flatten sole question

Hello everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I recently picked up a few planes on eBay (a No. 5 and a No. 7, might purchase the Veritas 60 1/2 and can’t wait to get it) and I’m looking to flatten their soles. My question is this—how big does the reference plate have to be to effectively flatten a sole? I assume it has to be at least as large as the item you’re trying to flatten but I wanted to see if I could get away with an 18” plate to flatten my 22” jointer plane.

Thank you for any insights you can provide.

12 replies so far

View diverlloyd's profile


4078 posts in 2873 days

#1 posted 10-02-2016 07:51 PM

I use my tablesaw for that. I have some rolls is sand paper and I put that on the tablesaw and clamp it down on both ends and sand away.

View BurlyBob's profile


8512 posts in 3281 days

#2 posted 10-02-2016 08:14 PM

I sort of do like Lloyd. I use a piece of 4”X36” sander belt on a piece of Melanie clamped to my saw horse. I get pretty decent results. Once I get it flattened on rough grit I move to wet/dry paper on granite. So far so good.

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2977 days

#3 posted 10-02-2016 08:20 PM

You can get away with it, but it all depends on how flat you want it. But what makes you think it needs to be flattened anyway? What have you checked the soles with? Any problems using them?

And Bob, how does Melanie like that? :) Gotta love autocorrect.

View fuigb's profile


588 posts in 3973 days

#4 posted 10-03-2016 01:34 AM

Sanding belt on a vivisized sanding belt on my Rigid jointer to flatten the sole of my junk store-found Bailey #8. The result was pretty good and the battle-scared octogenarian is now a splendid (big) little user.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View Rosenritter's profile


2 posts in 1618 days

#5 posted 10-03-2016 09:11 AM

Thank you for the responses, everyone! These are all very helpful.

I forgot to mention in my OP that I do not have the luxury of a tablesaw or a jointer on which to flatten my plan soles. My wife and I recently bought our first house (and my first workshop!) and tool-wise, I’m starting from almost nothing. Refurbishing some older planes in need of some TLC was a less-expensive way to be able to dimension rough stock on my own, and should I ever go the power tool route, I figured it would make me appreciate a jointer/planer more once I actually could afford to own them.

@Burlybob Right now I’m agnostic on the flatness of the No. 5 and No. 7’s soles. They’re a bit haggard and quite old, so I assume they’ll need some attention, but I won’t know for sure until I tune them up and clean up the irons. Once I make a few shavings I’ll know for sure. This thread was more to decide if my current granite plate would be enough or if I’d have to go digging through the scrap bin at the local counter shop.

@fuigb That sounds awesome. A restored 7 or 8 looks like a pleasure to use

View Robert's profile


4456 posts in 2496 days

#6 posted 10-03-2016 01:25 PM

A trip to the granite depot see if they will sell you a piece of backsplash?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View them700project's profile


293 posts in 2034 days

#7 posted 10-03-2016 01:34 PM

Im new to this as well but im assuming 25 longer than the sole at a minimum

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5344 posts in 4976 days

#8 posted 10-03-2016 01:54 PM

” on a piece of Melanie clamped to my….....”
I’ll bet ya that Melanie is unhappy about that.
Next time try some melamine.
I have a piece of granite backsplash from the local granite fab shop. About 4” wide and 24” long. Works like a champ, and free.

-- [email protected]

View diverlloyd's profile


4078 posts in 2873 days

#9 posted 10-03-2016 02:04 PM

Oh don’t start with 180 gritt you will hate that plane if you do. I like 60 grit.

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 3010 days

#10 posted 10-03-2016 02:05 PM

The indeed bed of my jointer is only about 4” longer than my no 7 plane. It worked fine for flattening.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View BurlyBob's profile


8512 posts in 3281 days

#11 posted 10-03-2016 02:45 PM

Bill. Copy that on the melamine! I think faster than I type and forget to proofread.

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2977 days

#12 posted 10-03-2016 06:16 PM

Yeah I’d go looking for a longer piece of granite if you need it, but check with a straightedge first to tell if it’s out of flat enough to bother.

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